SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — Citing a labor shortage on California farms, Sen. Dianne Feinstein has asked the Department of Homeland Security to focus immigration enforcement efforts on violent criminals instead.

Jason Resnik with the farm trade group Western Growers Association agreed with the senator, saying farmers depend on foreign-born workers.

“They’re just trying to produce food for the American people the workers are just trying to make an honest living,” said Resnik.

Feinstein wants federal officials to stop I-9 farm audits, which verify that employees can work in the U.S. legally. Muzaffar Chishti with the Migration Policy Institute said there is precedent here.

“There have been a number of situations in the past where individual members of congress, after voting on particular pieces of law, began to appreciate the consequences of the law that they have passed on their own constituents,” he said.

Immigration and Customs and Enforcement officials said they will respond to the senator directly and add that the agency focuses enforcement first on individuals who present the greatest security risk.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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